Cordova, Alaska / Halibut & Blackcod

With big dreams, a degree in anthropology and a penchant for adventure, Phyllis Shirron arrived in Alaska with a backpack 18 years ago. Her travels soon took her to the mouth of the Yukon River where she worked as a fisheries assistant, made a lot of friends and connections to people who would lead her on a long — and fun — journey that ultimately ended with her working the decks of a seiner.

“From that moment, I knew that I was going to be a fisherman,” she says of her first day on a boat.

Her experiences on fishing boats since 2005 all culminated in the purchase of a Prince William Sound drift permit and a bowpicker, the Cape Fear, last year. Shirron says the Cape Fear has won notoriety around the state for its stability as a fishing and a research vessel, and she was betting that it would suit her well during her rookie year in the sound and beyond.

“I test drove it and four others,” says Shirron, who has since taken up residency on the boat in the Cordova harbor for most of the year. The deciding factors, she says, were its stability, its amenities for comfort in the cabin and safe fishing out on deck — and a fresh new pair of Cummins diesels in the bilge.

“I knew I wanted diesels and jets,” she says of her shopping criteria. “Then, I found out that the engines had only 2,000 hours on them.”

Boat Specifications

HOME PORT: Cordova

OWNER: Phyllis Shirron

BUILDER: All American Marine, Bellingham, Wash.

YEAR BUILT: 1998 FISHERIES: Salmon gillnetting, pot shrimp


LENGTH: 32 feet BEAM: 12 feet 6 inches

DRAFT: 16 inches


TONNAGE: 20 tons gross/15 tons net

FISH HOLD CAPACITY: 15,000 pounds

MAIN PROPULSION: Twin Cummins QFB 5.9 liter at 355 horsepower each

GEARBOX: Velvet Drives 1:1

PROPELLER: Hamilton Jets 273 THRUST: 11.5 kW

NOZZLE DIAMETER: 10.5 inches

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 26 gallons per hour when she’s running for a set

FUEL CAPACITY: 300 gallons


ELECTRONICS: Raymarine radar, depth sounder, plotter, 3-D bathymetric; Garmin plotter 3210; Standard Eclipse and Standard Explorer VHF radios, Uniden CB radio; Sitex CVS 210 depth sounder

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Charlie Ess is the North Pacific Bureau Chief for National Fisherman.

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